Andreas Seidl on McLaren: ‘The sun shone for three years, then clouds appeared’

Sam Cooper
Andreas Seidl stands with his arms folded. Miami, May 2022.

McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl has described the team’s recent form as being like “the sun shone for three years, then clouds appeared” following their 2022 struggles.

McLaren had been a team on the rise having gone from a P6 Constructors’ finish to P3 in 2018 and 2020 respectively, but that ascendancy has stagnated somewhat in 2022.

They started the campaign in horrific form with both drivers finishing outside the points in the Bahrain season opener and progress since that point has often been a case of one step forward, two steps back.

McLaren’s best result of the season to date remains Lando Norris’ P3 at Imola, but they have 93 points fewer than at this point in 2021. One of their central struggles is an inability to find a car set-up that makes them good at every track on the calendar – and Seidl believes they are still some way off Ferrari and Red Bull.

“The plan is always to build a car that’s just as fast at Monaco as it is at Silverstone or wherever. But that’s the point that still, I emphasise, separates us from the top teams,” the German told Auto Bild. “Red Bull and Ferrari have cars that are ahead everywhere.

“That’s exactly why we are still behind them. But I try to see everything positively and to use all experiences, positive and negative, efficiently for the future. Even small setbacks can be positive.”

Seidl was asked to elaborate on that final point and said the struggles this season had allowed him to look back on the last three years more constructively.

“The sun shone for three years, then clouds suddenly appeared,” he said. “I also see it as a test to constructively question the last three years. How far have we actually come with all the innovations in the team organisation? That is the key question.

“And I have to say I am extremely happy with the answer, happy with my management team, happy with the whole culture that prevails in the team.

“The way the team are dealing with the challenge of a somewhat stagnant success curve shows we’ve taken the right path and are on the right track. We’ve taken the right path and are now systematically pursuing it.

“Despite all our ambition and will to win, we now simply have to have the patience to continue working on the next set of screws in order to ultimately become the top team we have set ourselves to be as our goal.”

Three goals for McLaren going into the final part of 2022

There is no doubt the 2022 season has been a rough ride for McLaren and their fans so far but with nine races left in the season, there is still plenty of time to salvage something. But to do that, they need sort both on and off track issues – so here are three goals for McLaren to achieve in the second half of the season:

1) Sort out the Daniel Ricciardo-Oscar Piastri mess

The Piastri-Ricciardo saga erupted on day two of the summer break when Piastri publicly announced he would not be accepting Alpine’s offer of a 2023 race seat. Since then, both Piastri and McLaren, with whom he is strongly rumoured to have signed a contract, have remained quiet.

This is a situation that may play out in a courtroom, but McLaren need to get in front of it. Every day their lawyers work on the contract is another day of uncertainty that will only cause more anxiety to spread through the team – not least for Ricciardo who still does not know his future.

2) Beat Alpine to P4 in the Constructors’ Championship

While the Piastri situation may need a courtroom to sort, one thing that will be decided on track is the Constructors’ Championship. McLaren trail Alpine by four points and for a team who secured P3 not so long ago, a P5 finish would be a significant fall.

With nine races to go, four points is nothing, but with Alpine looking as if they may have solved some of the reliability issues that hampered Fernando Alonso’s season earlier on, McLaren need to get both drivers scoring points consistently if they want to secure P4 and all the extra prize money that comes with it.

3) Solve 2022’s problems so you can start 2023 on the right foot

With every poor result of the 2022 season, the 2023 campaign has become all the more important to McLaren’s long-term goals. Perform well and 2022 will be seen as a minor blip, but continue in the same fashion and people will look back at this season as where it began to unravel.

McLaren have performed incredibly well to get themselves back among the points getters but with no sweeping regulations overhaul like there was this year, they need to ensure come 2023 the car’s problems have been ironed out.